Elizabeth Perry speaks on the meaning of the Chinese Communist Revolution
Posted: September 8, 2009
Based on Professor Elizabeth Perry's current book-in-progress, her talk probed the meaning of the Chinese Communist revolution -- as it was once experienced and as it has been interpreted and reinterpreted over the ensuing years. Focusing on the remarkable efforts of Mao Zedong and his comrades to educate and mobilize the coal miners of Anyuan in the 1920s, Perry traced the ways in which this original "Anyuan revolutionary tradition" was obscured and distorted over the years to serve a variety of personal, political and pecuniary agendas. Colorfully illustrated with dozens of historical and contemporary visual images, the talk used the example of Anyuan to try to recover the possibility of alternative revolutionary paths, driven less by class struggle and cults of personality than by the quest for human dignity through grassroots organization.
Elizabeth J. Perry is Henry Rosovsky Professor of Government at Harvard University and Director of the Harvard-Yenching Institute. Born in Shanghai and raised in Tokyo, she holds a PhD in political science from the University of Michigan and taught at the Universities of Arizona, Washington (Seattle) and California (Berkeley) before moving to Harvard in 1997. She served recently as President of the Association for Asian Studies. Professor Perry’s research focuses on grassroots politics and popular protest in modern and contemporary China. A fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship, she is the author or editor of more than 15 books. Two of her books, Rebels and Revolutionaries in North China, 1845-1945 (Stanford University Press, 1980); and Shanghai on Strike: the Politics of Chinese Labor (Stanford University Press, 1993) have been published in Chinese translation. The latter book won the John King Fairbank prize for the best book on East Asian history from the American Historical Association. Professor Perry is currently engaged in a study of the history and politics of the labor movement at the Anyuan coal mine (安源煤矿).
Read more about the lecture at The Daily Texan.